Bartender Comes Clean About 'Historic' Louisville Cocktail

Oops! Adam Seger says the 'pre-Prohibition' drink isn't one
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2016 7:11 AM CST
Bartender Comes Clean About 'Historic' Louisville Cocktail
A bartender makes a cocktail at a San Francisco bar featuring, among other drinks, classic libations of Prohibition-era Havana.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – When Adam Seger was brought on as head of restaurant operations at the storied Seelbach Hotel (now the Seelbach Hilton) in downtown Louisville, Ky., he announced that he'd stumbled upon the recipe of a pre-Prohibition drink that used to be the hotel's signature drink and that he tried it, he enjoyed it, and he was putting in back on the menu. But as the New York Times reports, the "rescued classic" that gained fast notoriety and established Seger as a brand name was in fact Seger's own creation, a "ruse" as the Louisville Courier-Journal calls it. Now Seger, who "carried this around" for 21 years, has decided to finally come clean.

"I was nobody," says Seger, who left the hotel in 2001, is now 47, and recently helped open the Tuck Room in Manhattan. "I knew I could make a great drink. I wanted it to be this promotion for the hotel, and I felt the hotel needed a signature cocktail. How could you have a place that F. Scott Fitzgerald hung out in that doesn’t have a damn cocktail?" Everyone bought the story (even the historian known as Dr. Cocktail who wrote a book about vintage spirits) and loved the drink, which is made with bourbon, triple sec, bitters, sparkling wine, and garnished with an orange twist. Even the hotel is sticking with the drink as its signature cocktail, saying it's become a hotel tradition and "will remain part of its future." (This is Obama's cocktail of choice.)

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